UK Release date: 7th October 1994
Watched on Sky+ Tuesday 7th February 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I have seen so much praise for this film over the years but never got around to watching it. Well, a rather cold Tuesday night and it’s on the hard drive of my Sky+ box. I took the plunge and was quite impressed with it over all; although I’m not really the target audience I did find it both entertaining and amusing. I will give you more of my thoughts after this very brief summary.
The film tells the story of Simba, a lion cub who is destined to be king. That is if his uncle, Scar, doesn’t get his way first. Simba enjoys life as a cub, playing with his friend Nala and learning life lessons from his father, Mufasa. But then Scar decides to take a hand in his destiny and Simba finds himself out in the wilderness alone. Here he is befriended by a Warthog, Pumbaa, and a Meerkat, Timon. They persuade Simba to put his troubles aside and just enjoy life and so this unlikely trio live quite happily in another part of the jungle. Before we know it Simba has grown up and a chance meeting with Nala brings back memories he had buried deep inside him. But what will he do about it? Well, just in case there’s one or two out there who haven’t seen it yet, I’ll leave it there or the Spoiler Police (Jungle Division) will be taking me for a visit with the hyenas (again).
Excellent animation and some really good songs are what struck me most about this film. To be honest, I had heard most of the main songs before, but it was nice to put them into context. Performance-wise, well everyone did a good job, particularly Jeremy Irons who voiced the evil Scar really well. Also worthy of note were the voice talents of; Jonathan Taylor Thomas as Young Simba, Matthew Broderick as Adult Simba, James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Nathan Lane as Timon, Ernie Sabella as Pumbaa, Rowan Atkinson as Zazu and Whoopi Goldberg as Shenzi.
Although it was good, and great for younger viewers, I guess I was expecting something a little more epic. Not that I was particularly disappointed, I suppose all those rave reviews I read maybe upped my expectations a tad. At the end of the day it does what it says on the tin and you really cannot ask for more. It does stand out as one of the better Disney animated films its era, that’s a given, but I must say I have seen later films that are equally as good, or even better. Even so, it will still delight, amuse and entertain and I cannot knock it for that… Recommended.
My score: 8.2/10.
IMDb Score: 8.3/10 (based on 220,746 votes at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 89/100 (based on 92 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 89/100 (based on 1,177,009 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Mufasa: Look, Simba. Everything the light touches is our kingdom.
Young Simba: Wow.
Mufasa: A king's time as ruler rises and falls like the sun. One day, Simba, the sun will set on my time here, and will rise with you as the new king.
Young Simba: And this'll all be mine?
Young Simba: Everything the light touches...
Zazu: [about Scar] There's one in every family sire. Two in mine, actually. And they always manage to ruin special occasions.
Mufasa: What am I going to do with him?
Zazu: He'd make a very handsome throw rug.
Mufasa: [Surprised] Zazu!
Zazu: And just think, Whenever he gets dirty you can take him out and beat him.
Timon: Geez! It's a lion! Run, Pumbaa! Move it!
Pumbaa: Hey, Timon, it's just a *little* lion. Look at him. He's so cute and all alone! Can we keep him?
Timon: Pumbaa, are you nuts? We're talking about a lion; Lions eat guys like us!
Pumbaa: But he's so little.
Timon: He's gonna get bigger.
Pumbaa: Maybe he'll be on our side.
Timon: A - huh! That's the stupidest thing I ever heard. Maybe he'll b-... Hey, I got it! What if he's on our side? You know, having a lion around might not be such a bad idea.
Timon: What do you want me to do, dress in drag and do the hula?